The television advert for The National’s new seven day a week publication has just been released, and for the very first time ever, there’s something that stars the human part of this blog operation, and not the Dug. Well slap me with a saliva covered doggy chew.
Actually, the truth is that when the advert was first planned, it was of course the Dug that The National wanted to have a starring role in it. Which is fair enough, he’s far more photogenic than I am. The last time anyone ever called me cute was before I started talking. And I started talking at the age of 9 months. According to my mother, I’ve never shut up since.
The Dug and I went along to get filmed for the advert in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park. The film crew took some lovely shots of the Dug on my lap on a park bench while I delivered some lines. They took other shots of me walking with the dug, and most definitely were focused on the Dug. And Ginger was extremely well behaved and cooperative. He even ignored a yappy wee terrier that passed by, considering it no threat to his divaesque dogosity. He is, after all, the only Dug in the history of dogdom who has been known to turn up his nose at a doggy treat in favour of a photo opportunity.
A couple of weeks after filming, when I was in Wales doing a talk for the Caernarfon branch of Yes Cymru, I got an urgent email from The National, asking for a reply confirming that I am the owner of the Dug, and that I gave permission for him to appear in the advert. I did so, even though I’m not so much the Dug’s owner as his stage manager and personal servant.
Then I got another urgent email, saying that advertising regulations prohibit the use of animals unless a vet confirms that the animal wasn’t abused or coerced. So I gave The National’s staff the contact details of Ginger’s vet. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to help as they hadn’t witnessed the actual filming. So even though the shot that they wanted to use was of me sitting on a park bench with the Dug languidly stretched out on my lap and looking exceptionally pleased with himself because he knew he was the centre of everyone’s attention, they weren’t able to include it in the finished advert. Instead they’ve used the same shot, but cropped in closely to remove the Dug from it.
Look out for the advert on your telly screens over the next few days. It’s being broadcast as the new Sunday edition of The National will be published this weekend. With Richard Walker at the helm, you can be sure that it’s going to be a great read. Buy it, read it, share it, subscribe to it. You can now subscribe to the digital editions or the print editions, ensuring that you never miss a copy again.
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